Carrie Phillips, a licensed naturopathic doctor, saw her first patient at Blue Spark Health in late December on the KP. Soon after her opening, the pandemic hit, with a slowdown in calls and visits, but Phillips said the practice has grown slowly and steadily since May and June. “I’ve been well received,” she said.
“I come from a long line of nurses,” Phillips said, “and I considered a career in pediatrics or teaching, but those didn’t seem to fit.” She was introduced to naturopathy when she was an undergraduate in college but didn’t pursue it further at the time. She married, was busy with her growing family, and naturopathy kept coming up. “Finally,” she said, “I listened.”
A Wisconsin native, Phillips and her husband and three young children moved to the Pacific Northwest when she entered the School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University in Kenmore. They moved to Gig Harbor as she completed her studies, a location that made commuting — her husband is a firefighter and paramedic who works in Lacey – more feasible. Phillips was delighted to find the building on State Route 302 when she was ready to establish her practice. “I love the energy and the setting on the Key Peninsula,” she said. Her three children, now 10, 12 and 14, have been joined by a baby brother who is nearly a year and a half old.
Naturopathic doctors, or NDs, have to meet prerequisites for entering their graduate training that are similar to those who study conventional medicine or osteopathy. Much of their medical school classwork is similar — including such topics as anatomy, biochemistry and physical diagnosis — but they also study homeopathy, acupuncture and botanical medicine. They spend time working with licensed naturopaths during the last two years to gain clinical experience before becoming licensed and entering practice themselves. Medical doctors and doctors of osteopathic medicine traditionally do additional residency training following medical school, with the number of years dependent on their specialty, but this is not required for NDs.
Phillips hopes to establish Blue Spark as a wellness center with additional practitioners. A massage therapist is now part of the team and she would like to add others. Phillips does not accept insurance, though she can provide a detailed bill for
patients to submit to their insurance plans for reimbursement. “I didn’t want my practice to be limited by what insurance will cover,” she said.
She currently sees a broad base of patients, though she expects her practice may shift and develop more of a specific focus over time. “The specialty finds you. I think my strength is healing hands and energetic healing,” Phillips said. She uses an integrative approach, combining therapies such as homeopathy, craniosacral therapy and botanical medicine to treat her patients. She is also a graduate of Northwest Healing and Intuitive Arts, which provides training in shamanism, which Phillips describes as using ancient indigenous healing techniques to help understand and heal both the physical and emotional self.
Blue Spark Health is located at 11607 State Route 302 NW. Call 252-525-1080 or on the web at bluesparkhealth.com.